Food companies use a bewildering range of terms and claims to encourage us buy their products. But what do they really mean – and are they even true?
Sadly, many positive-sounding food labels hide the same old industrial farming systems. Did you know that terms like “Natural” or “Free Range” or “Antibiotic-Free” have absolutely nothing to do with real animal welfare or environmental sustainability?
Animal Welfare Approved ‘s “Food Labels Exposed” app explains what the most common food labels really mean, so you can make informed food choices.
If you find a term that’s not listed, please let us know – we’ll review and add it! Email us at :
Browse or Search Our List of Common Terms and Claims
If a food term or claim is legally defined or regulated, we provide the official definition. Where a term or claim is not regulated or legally defined, we provide an unbiased definition – and what to look out for.
Who Can You Trust?
Every food label term or claim falls into one of two categories:
Verified or certified by an independent audit
An independent auditor has visited the farm, slaughter plant, or processing/packing plant to make sure they’re following specific rules or standards.
Food labels with ‘self-made’ claims
No physical verification or independent audit is made to check if the claims are accurate – or even true. We suggest you dig deeper to ensure the claims are genuine.
Our list of Icons will help you to evaluate the validity of any claim, quickly identifying the type of claim – and whether it’s been independently verified.
Animal Welfare Approved audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. AWA is the most highly regarded food label in North America when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. Find out more about THE food label you can trust at